Todd Phillips’ “Joker” has dominated cinema buzz ever since world premiering in competition at the Venice Film Festival last month. The comic book film, starring Joaquin Phoenix as the infamous Batman villain, went on to shock the world by winning Venice’s top prize, the Golden Lion, before heading to the Toronto International Film Festival where it picked up equal amounts rave reviews and outrage. What’s become clear is that superhero movies might never be the same after the movie’s release next month. IndieWire’s David Ehrlich observed as much in his review, writing the film is “the boldest and most exciting superhero movie since ‘The Dark Knight,” for better and for worse.
With Warner Bros. gearing up to release “Joker” in theaters nationwide October 4, now is as good a time as ever to start getting ready for the movie by watching the 1970s crime classics, contemporary superhero movies, and silent films that helped shape Phillips’ unnerving vision. If one good thing comes out of “Joker,” it’s that mainstream audiences will be interested in checking out some of film history’s boldest films. Start preparing for “Joker” with the 17 films below.